Can I use menstrual cup for 24 hours?

Quick Answer

It is generally not recommended to keep a menstrual cup in for more than 12 hours at a time. Leaving a menstrual cup in for 24 hours increases the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). However, it may be possible to use a menstrual cup for up to 24 hours safely if you take proper precautions.

Is it Safe to Wear a Menstrual Cup for 24 Hours?

Most menstrual cup companies and health organizations recommend changing your menstrual cup every 8-12 hours. Wearing a menstrual cup for longer than 12 hours increases the risk of TSS.

TSS is a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection. It has been associated primarily with super absorbent tampon use, when left in place for too long. The same risk applies to menstrual cups if left in for extended periods.

Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus can grow rapidly in menstrual blood and produce toxins. When the toxins enter the bloodstream, they can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure leading to shock. Symptoms of TSS include:

Fever Rash
Vomiting Diarrhea
Dizziness Muscle aches

If TSS is suspected, remove the menstrual cup immediately and seek medical help. Catching TSS quickly improves outcomes.

Risk Factors for TSS

You may be at higher risk for TSS if you:

– Have used tampons before and had symptoms
– Are under 30 years old
– Are menstruating for the first time
– Have skin damage from cuts, burns, or scrapes

Ways to Reduce TSS Risk

If you want to leave your menstrual cup in for over 12 hours, you can take steps to lower TSS risk:

– Use the lowest absorbency menstrual cup for your flow
– Choose a cup made of medical-grade silicone
– Wash hands before insertion and removal
– Fully clean the cup between cycles
– Avoid prolonged use during your first 3 cycles

Pay attention to your body and look for early signs of TSS. Seek medical treatment immediately if you suspect TSS.

Menstrual Cup Wear Time Guidelines

Most menstrual cup brands provide wear time guidelines:

Brand Recommended Maximum Wear Time
DivaCup 12 hours
Lunette 12 hours
Saalt 12 hours
Lena 12 hours
Ruby Cup 12 hours
Super Jennie 12 hours
Tampax Cup 8 hours
OrganiCup 12 hours
Fleur Cup 12 hours
Sckoon Cup 12 hours

As you can see, most top brands only recommend wearing a cup for up to 12 hours maximum. Some suggest even less time, like Tampax Cup which says 8 hours.

These time limits are given for safety reasons. Ignoring them and using a cup for 24+ hours is risky.

When to Change Your Menstrual Cup Sooner

Even if 12 hours hasn’t passed, you may need to change your menstrual cup sooner if:

Your cup is full and leaking

Menstrual cup capacity ranges from about 20-40ml depending on size and brand. If your flow is heavy, the cup can fill up faster than the recommended time frame.

Pay attention to leakage as a sign your cup is full. Empty it sooner even if the time limit hasn’t been reached.

You feel discomfort

Some people can feel discomfort from a full, heavy cup. The cup’s rim can press uncomfortably against the vaginal walls when it’s ready to be emptied.

Don’t tolerate discomfort – take the cup out and empty it if needed for relief.

You have urinary urgency or constipation

A full cup taking up space in the vaginal canal can cause symptoms like:

– Need to pee frequently or sudden urgency
– Trouble fully emptying the bladder
– Constipation or difficulty passing stool

Change your cup soon if it seems to be obstructing your urethra or rectum. Relieving the pressure should help.

You need to have a bowel movement

It’s recommended to remove a menstrual cup before having a bowel movement.

Passing a large, hard stool can pinch the cup between the stool and vaginal walls. This can dislodge or deform the cup.

Remove and clean the cup beforehand to allow comfortable, unobstructed bowel movements.

How to Know if Your Cup is Full

Since you can’t see inside your vagina, how can you tell when your menstrual cup needs emptying? Here are some signs:

Check the cup’s fullness when you insert it

When you first put your menstrual cup in at the start of your period, make note of how full it looks. This gives you an idea of how much fluid it holds when empty vs. full.

You can tell it’s full if the cup’s walls are pushed out by fluid and the cup takes on an expanded, rounded shape.

Look at the fluid amount when you remove it

When you take out your cup to empty it, check how much menstrual fluid is caught inside. Make a mental note or track it in a period journal.

Over time, you’ll get a sense of your typical fluid amounts and know when the cup has reached capacity.

Check for overflow leaks

If you see blood spotting in your underwear or on pads/liners, the cup is likely full. The excess blood is leaking out of the cup because there’s no more room.

Overflow leaking is a sure sign it’s time to empty and reinsert your menstrual cup.

Feel discomfort or pressure

As noted above, a full cup can make you feel uncomfortable pressure in your pelvic region, bladder, or rectum. Listen to these symptoms.

How to Empty Your Menstrual Cup After 24 Hours

If you do wear your cup for an extended 24 hours, take care when removing and emptying it. After sitting for so long, the cup’s contents are more likely to spill or make a mess. Here are some tips:

Empty over the toilet or in the shower

Position yourself over a toilet so you can catch any blood or clots that spill out when removing the cup. Or, take the cup out while you’re in the shower for easy clean-up.

Wear a pad or liner

Put on a pad, reusable cloth pad, or liner before taking out your cup. This will absorb any leaks.

Relax your muscles

Take deep breaths and relax your pelvic floor muscles before pulling out the cup. This minimizes spills.

Break the seal

Pinch the base of the cup to break the seal before you begin pulling it out. This releases suction.

Tip it upward as you remove

Angle the cup upward as you withdraw it from your vagina. Keep it vertical to avoid tipping out the contents too fast.

Pour into toilet from low height

When over the toilet, bring your cup down low and tip it slowly upward to pour out the fluid and clots. Keeping it low prevents splatter.

Wipe cup rim before reinserting

Give the cup a wipe with toilet paper before putting it back in. This removes any residue on the rim from insertion or removal.

FAQs About Using a Menstrual Cup for 24 Hours

Can I pee while wearing a menstrual cup?

Yes, you can urinate while wearing a menstrual cup. The cup sits low in the vagina and doesn’t obstruct the urethral opening. Pee normally as needed without needing to take the cup out.

Can I wear a menstrual cup swimming or bathing?

Menstrual cups can be worn swimming. The waterproof material is safe to wear while bathing, showering, swimming in pools or lakes, and doing water sports. Rinse the cup before reinserting.

Can I have sex with a menstrual cup?

It’s possible to have sex with a menstrual cup in, but not recommended. You or your partner may be able to feel the cup. Remove it beforehand for comfort and mess prevention.

Can a full menstrual cup get stuck or lost?

It’s very unlikely for a menstrual cup to get stuck or lost in the vagina. The cups are designed for easy removal, with stems to grasp. Even if full, you can still pinch the base and pull down to remove it.

Can I use a menstrual cup with an IUD?

Menstrual cups can typically be used safely with IUDs, but consult your gynecologist. They may recommend using a low-suction cup and taking care not to dislodge the strings during insertion and removal.


While it’s not recommended, some menstruators may be able to safely use a menstrual cup for up to 24 hours if needed in a pinch. However, leaving it in that long does increase the risks.

To minimize health dangers, take precautions like using a low-absorbency cup, paying attention to signs it’s full, and seeking medical help if any symptoms of TSS develop. Most importantly, listen to your body and don’t hesitate to take your cup out sooner if anything feels off. Stick to the standard guidance of changing it every 8 to 12 hours when possible for the highest safety.

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